NASA has announced that it has begun accepting requests from space enthusiasts who wish to have their names sent to Mars on their next trip to the red planet.
The engraved microchip will carry millions of names, as it will travel 34 million miles on a mission planned for 2026.
The US space agency ran a similar scheme for its Perseverance rover on Mars, which landed on the nearby dusty planet last week.
The Perseverance spacecraft was carrying three silicon chips that were imprinted with nearly 11 million names (10932295 participants in NASA’s “Send Your Name to Mars” campaign) while it was descending into Jezero Crater.
The probe “Perseverance”, which cost 2.7 billion dollars, was launched on a two-year mission to search for signs of the presence of aliens.
Anyone wishing to register for NASA’s next trip to Mars can do so by heading to the official webpage to have their name sent to the red planet.
Click “Sign up for the next trip” and enter your name, address and email to secure your location. Participants are provided with a digital boarding pass.
NASA said it opened the registration on February 18th due to “a lot of excitement” surrounding the “Perseverance” vehicle, which landed on the same day.
At the time of writing, more than 8 million people have registered to be sent to Mars on the next flight.
Their names will be engraved on a chip using an electronic beam.
The E-beam machine allows for the writing of very small features: less than 1 micron, much less than the width of a human hair.
It is usually used by NASA engineers to make small devices at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.
Details about the upcoming NASA mission to Mars are still weak, and it can be expected that it will include another rover or fixed lander, such as “Insight”.
All we know so far is that the next flight is scheduled to launch in July 2026.
Working with NASA, the European Space Agency will send a spacecraft to the red planet that year.
It will pick up a handful of Martian soil and rocks collected by Perseverance and leave it in titanium tubes on the planet’s surface.
The samples will be returned to Earth and analyzed by scientists for signs of the strange microbes that may have inhabited Mars billions of years ago.